ODESSA, Texas (AP) - Private businesses in West Texas are preparing for the start of a new open-carry law, and many restaurant owners in Odessa say their customers’ comfort outweighs having holstered hand guns inside.
The Odessa American (https://bit.ly/1Y7FYUT ) reports Odessa Mayor David Turner plans to prohibit openly carried guns at 10 sandwich shops he owns. It’s legal, but he said “it makes people nervous.”
Two new state laws allow business owners to prohibit concealed handguns or openly carried firearms. Owners can post signs or give verbal warnings that guns aren’t welcome in their workplaces.
A license holder refusing to abide by either warning could face up to a year in jail and be fined up to $4,000.
The open-carry law, which applies only to those with concealed handgun permits, takes effect Jan. 1.
Barn Door owner Roy Gillean said he expects to place signs prohibiting open carry or bringing long rifles into his restaurant. Part of the reason, he said, is that people who carry guns could be targets for bad actors like a robber.
But he plans to allow, or maybe even encourage, patrons to bring their concealed weapons.
“People aren’t used to (open carry) yet,” said Gillean, who keeps weapons in his restaurant and plans to get a concealed carry license soon. “They may get used to it, but they are not used to it now. Some people may feel uncomfortable, and I don’t want any of my customers to feel uncomfortable.”
City of Odessa leaders will probably have a personnel committee meeting to consider whether to try to restrict open carry in city-owned buildings and whether to allow city employees to openly carry weapons, Turner said.
“We have to think about it as far as the city, what we are going to do, and we really haven’t decided,” he said.
Information from: Odessa American, https://www.oaoa.com
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